Greater City Providence

Newport Daily News: Pedestrian-bicycle path, observation deck proposed for Pell Bridge

Rendering showing a possible mixed-use path and observation deck for the Newport-Pell Bridge

The [Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority] has determined it is feasible to add a path for pedestrians and bicyclists to the Newport, Jamestown-Verrazzano and Mount Hope bridges; the Sakonnet River Bridge already has such a path.

It is also possible to construct an enclosed observation deck atop one of the two towers on the Pell Bridge.

“We’re celebrating 50 years of the most iconic structure in the state of Rhode Island, one of the most iconic structures in New England,” Croft told The Daily News in his Jamestown office Tuesday. “It’s time for us to look to the next 50 years. And you can’t look to the next 50 years without connecting people and communities, and looking into mobility. We just thought it was the ideal time to at least have the public discussion to see if there was an appetite for this.”

He stressed that the authority hasn’t completed any designs for the paths or observation deck, nor has it secured any funding for the initiatives. A preliminary cost estimate for the paths along the three bridges is between $25 million and $50 million; the authority did not have a cost estimate for the observation deck.

But the authority has determined that the bridges can handle the increased load, according to Eric Offenberg, its director of engineering.


Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • This would be a legit tourist destination, and if they charged a buck or two to take the elevator up to the observation deck, it could help pay for maintenance.
    I don’t think this connects to any major bike paths though, right?

  • A path on the bridge could be an extremely valuable part of an integrated state wide pathway system.

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